(NASHVILLE, TN) May 4, 2009 – GRAMMY® award-winning and multi-platinum selling artists Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith wrapped up their highly successful United Tour last week, finishing a string of 44 shows with sell-out performances at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and in Chapman’s hometown of Paducah, Kentucky. That capped off multiple sell-outs on a historic tour that began last fall and continued into the spring, pairing the two iconic artists for the first time in their lengthy careers in front of a cumulative audience of more than 100,000 people.
Both artists performed music from their current albums – Chapman’s This Moment and Smith’s award winning A New Hallelujah, and A New Hallelujah – The Live Worship DVD – while also collaborating together on songs from each of their expansive catalogs. Those collaborative moments on stage became crowd-pleasers each night, giving fans an opportunity to catch shared glimpses of humor and inspiration between the two long-time friends. Concert reviewers caught on quickly to the special moments:
“From the honesty and transparency of discussing his daughter's death to the energy and passion of their greatest songs to the warmth and joy in a loyal audience, Steven Curtis Chapman's pairing with Michael W. Smith on their current tour is a night of inspiration, unity and family…. If your Christian faith is important to you, this is a night that's as worshipful as it is wonderful and it's certainly for you.” (Belief.net)
“Hopefully this won't be the last time Smith and Chapman share the stage on tour together... and hopefully more artists will take cues from these guys on how to make a tour of talent a special night for fans to remember and cherish.” (JesusFreakHideout.com)
“When you get a ticket to a concert featuring Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman, there are moments you hope for… These were moments that remind you iconic artists are fully capable of appreciating other iconic artists’ work.” (Rich Copley, Lexington Herald-Leader)
Creative Artist Agency’s John Huie notes, “The United Tour exceeded all our expectations. The way these two iconic statesmen of Christian music intertwined their sets and enjoyed singing each other’s songs is part of the creative process that is missing from a lot of live shows! Three cheers for Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith for their history of great work and their humble ability to share it together! For those who were able to see it, this show was truly a night no one will forget!”
“Sharing the stage with Steven, both in the fall and again in the spring, was a privilege for me,” Smith says. “His consistency over the years as a great artist and a great man of faith was evident every single night of the tour. I feel like the timing of this tour, the timing for Steven and I to share the stage together, was God’s timing – and it was worth the wait. I’m so grateful to everyone who came out for the experience. Steven and I will never forget it.”
“The United Tour has been an incredible experience, and how amazing to get to tour with Michael,” Chapman adds. “He was an incredible friend and brother in walking through this time with our family. It’s been a profound opportunity to see friends around the country who have ached and prayed for us and thank them in person. And it’s been important and meaningful for me to declare these truths in my songs again. I think all of us that were part of ‘United’ have learned again at a deeper level the truth of what we’ve been writing and singing all these years... that God is faithful, even when life is hard, and that the Gospel is true and God is worthy of our praise. My sincere thanks to all who worked on stage and off stage, and to all who came to join us on The United Tour.”
Two of Christian Music’s most recognized and beloved artists, Chapman and Smith ended The United Tour on the heels of major Dove Award wins for both of them. Chapman took home the honors for the Gospel Music Association’s Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year, while Smith’s A New Hallelujah was named Praise & Worship Album of the Year as well as Inspirational Song of the Year. Together, the two artists have garnered a staggering eight GRAMMY ® awards, 100 Dove Awards, 78 No. 1 singles and more than 30 gold and platinum albums.
Show Hope™, the orphan care ministry originally founded by Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, was the sponsor for the United Tour's 2009 spring leg. The tour’s response was overwhelming as over 2,400 individuals and families made monthly commitments to sponsor orphan care and adoption. With a mission to share the message of caring for the world’s orphans, Show Hope sponsors will be able to help more orphans than ever before find their forever families. Since its inception, Show Hope has financially helped provide forever homes for over 2,000 orphans from 40 countries, including the U.S. The ministry receives over 150 new adoption assistance requests each month. In addition to those needs, financial support to Show Hope also provides medical care, love and hope to orphans, and specifically special needs orphans at Maria’s Big House of Hope in Luoyang, China, which will house over 100 orphans at full capacity. For more information on how you can support the needs of Show Hope, please visit www.ShowHope.org.
Smith’s long-time ministry partner Compassion International (www.compassion.com) was able to benefit during the fall leg of The United Tour. More than 2,000 orphaned children in Compassion’s program around the world were sponsored as a result of the tour’s first 20 dates. “The fact that literally thousands of orphaned children’s lives were impacted through Compassion International in the fall and Show Hope in the spring is just an added blessing that came about through this tour,” Smith says.
The United Tour also formed a unique partnership with HearItFirst.com. With nearly 200,000 members, HIF proved itself the premiere online destination for behind-the-scenes videos and artist interviews with exclusive United Tour content featuring video of Steven and Michael interviewing each other. HearItFirst.com also partnered with the tour via a home page takeover, information to its members through its weekly newsletter, and a contest that won HIF fans free seats and backstage meet & greet passes in each city.
About Steven Curtis Chapman:
Steven Curtis Chapman has sold over 10 million records including two RIAA-certified platinum albums and eight RIAA-certified gold albums. Along with his GMA Dove and GRAMMY ® awards, Chapman has won an American Music Award, recorded 45 No. 1 US radio hits and been awarded 56 Dove Awards, more than any other artist to date. Since his recording career began in 1987, he has recorded 16 projects with Sparrow Records.
Chapman has performed at the White House and has appeared on multiple national programs via CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, CMT, FOX News, the Hallmark Channel and E!, including Good Morning America, Larry King Live, CBS Sunday Morning, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and more. Chapman’s current recording, This Moment, has been propelled by his poignant hit single, “Cinderella.” Together, the album and single have sold more than 500,000 units and earlier this year This Moment was nominated for a Grammy. Last month, the Gospel Music Association awarded Chapman two of its highest honors: Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. For more information, please visit www.stevencurtischapman.com .
About Michael W. Smith:
Throughout his 25-year career as a recording artist, Michael W. Smith has amassed an impressive catalog of achievements. His 21 albums have garnered multiple honors including an American Music Award, three GRAMMY ® Awards (from 13 nominations), 44 GMA Dove Awards and 33 No. 1 radio hits. In addition, he holds 16 Gold and five platinum albums for career sales approaching 15 million.
Smith, who was recently inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, has scored several film projects, written 11 books and has been featured by media outlets including, NBC’s Today Show, Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, Larry King Live, FOX and Friends, Hannity and Colmes, USA Today, NY Times, The Washington Post, LA Times, Newsweek, has been named one of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People and has presented multiple times on the GRAMMY Awards show. His tours consistently rank among the best attended in the country and he has performed to capacity crowds throughout the world. Constantly giving back to the community, one of his current projects is Rocketown--a nightclub for teens in his hometown of Nashville, Tenn.--which serves as safe place for young people to enjoy music and for artists to be discovered. He and wife Debbie Smith are the proud parents of five children. For up-to-date information on Michael W. Smith, please visit www.michaelwsmith.com.
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